Construction Management expands outreach and recruitment with new coordinator

Gianna BuenoThe Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University has always prided itself on providing the best quality graduates to become the new employees and leaders of the construction industry. This year a new coordinator position was created to continue to expand initiatives and to focus on recruitment of women and students from underrepresented groups.

Gianna Bueno joined the CM team in August as the Outreach & Student Recruitment Coordinator. This position plays a critical role in promoting undergraduate student recruitment and success through a variety of activities including outreach and education about the construction industry, career paths, and CM major working closely with entities both internal and external to the University. In her role, Bueno supports the campus priority of providing a diverse and supportive learning environment.

Bueno was born and raised in Fort Collins, growing up in the historic tres colonias neighborhood and spending much of her time at the Northside Aztlan Community Center. She participated in several programs for youth at the center, then worked her way up to become an employee, finding her passion for working with students.

From there she went to New Mexico for her own college experience. She became a tutor/translator for Portales Middle School. She worked with English as a second language (ESL) students to help them understand the curriculum, including translating materials like homework, exams, and lectures. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Most recently Bueno worked for a TRiO program as an academic adviser for middle and high school students in the Greeley D6 school district, with a case load of approximately 250 students, whom she recruited. “The best part of my job was helping students have that ‘aha’ moment,” said Bueno, “where they find a passion and begin to envision a path forward.”

Hitting the ground running with outreach activities

During the fall semester, in her new role in CM, Bueno has been able to partake in several outreach initiatives. One responsibility she assumed is overseeing CM’s recurring Friday informational tours for prospective students and families.  For these sessions Bueno engages “CM RAMbassadors,” who are current CM students who can offer personal testimonials about the CM program.

CM female students at booth for Transportation and Construction Girl Day
Transportation & Construction Girl Day-CM students at booth

Some unique opportunities Bueno has experienced this semester include participation in the “Transportation and Construction Girl Day” in Jefferson County that hosted over 1000 female K-12 attendees. Bueno also represented CSU CM in the inaugural northern Colorado “Construction Con 2022,” which hosted over 600 student attendees. Its purpose was to expose northern Colorado high school students to the vast construction industry.

CM Booth at Construction Con with Gianna Bueno
Bueno with students-CM Booth at “ConCon 2022”

With the goal of helping students learn about construction management as an academic and professional career path Bueno will visit high school classes related to construction, as well as host student groups on campus. This fall, CM hosted a group of diverse students from South High School in Denver. Bueno also had the opportunity to present to a Construction Pathway class at Thompson Career Campus, in Loveland, about the construction industry in general, and more specifically, the CM degree program.

CM Students at gingerbread house build
CM students at the Boys And Girls Club “gingerbread house” build

Recently, Bueno has been involved with students volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, working with Quarter Project’s GEMS program to build “gingerbread houses” with female elementary school students, to expose them to the construction industry early in their academic careers.

Engagement to support students in the program

In her role as Outreach & Student Recruitment Coordinator, Bueno provides advising and support for transfer and prospective change-of-major students using a holistic approach to assist students in making critical transitions, developing academic plans, and connecting with campus resources.

Shortly after starting her job, she was asked to help the department establish a mentoring program geared towards first-generation and multicultural students. As the CM department continues to grow and evolve, one important goal is to attract and retain more diverse students. This is exactly what the First-Generation & Multicultural Mentoring Program aims to do. Bueno is working alongside a current CM student to get the program up and running.

Group of students around a conference table
First meeting of the 1st Generation & Multicultural group; Bueno at far end

“I am very excited to have this opportunity,” said Bueno, “and to watch the first cohort of students begin their mentoring journey next semester! Long term, I am excited to see how the mentorship program becomes established and meshes with the overall CM program.”

Bueno adds, “As I continue to grow into this role, I am hopeful that I will be able to work with more high schools and interact with diverse students. I love seeing how students are engaging with construction early on. It’s equally great when students can journey to CSU and see our amazing facilities and hands-on opportunities. As these opportunities with engagement continue, I would love to see more students coming into CSU as declared pre-CM majors. Construction Management is a great program that needs to be a more widely known, and that is my goal!”

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.